Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia is somewhere that I knew very little about so with a long weekend upon us, we figured we’d head over there on a day trip. First impressions? My goodness, it’s clean! I mean, clean beyond a fault …. and modern and sleek and immaculate. From the perfectly clipped hedges that line the roads to gleaming floor tiles outside the main attractions, it is hauntingly perfect.
But there’s also a lot of things to do and I fear that from a tourist point of view, the city has been seriously over-looked.
Only a 35 minute drive from KL, it’s well sign-posted and easy to find. As I wanted to fit in as much as possible into our day trip, I’d done a fair bit of research so knew that I wanted to start our day with a cruise on the man-made Putrajaya Lake. Cruise Tasik Putrajaya operate a number of boating options from 30-minute tours, to dinner cruises and day trips so it’s best to see which option suits you best.
We went for their ‘Early Bird’ Cruise which runs from 10am (on weekends and bank holidays). The tour gave us a nice overview of the city as well as some background info on this ‘planned’ city, and there were loads of photo opportunities along the way.
I have to say that we found the cruise company very professional, timely and the boats were very modern and clean. We were greeted by a member of the crew and given a bottle of water for the trip, we had a tour guide who gave us commentary to start the excursion and the captain even posed for photos with my son which absolutely made his day!
Check out their page for rates and schedules: http://www.cruisetasikputrajaya.com
After our cruise we visited the ‘Pink Mosque’ (officially known as Putra Mosque but the colour is so impressive that I prefer the former name!). You get a lovely view of the mosque from the boat but you can also go in and visit it.
As a place of worship, you need to be appropriately dressed to get past the main inner court of the mosque but there is a kiosk manned by a couple of ladies who will loan you a hooded cloak solely for the purpose of your visit.
The mosque is immaculate with the shiniest of floor tiles and lovely little bonsai-type trees planted in troughs around the court.
Once you’ve reached the doors and taken your shoes off you get a small glimpse inside where the pink theme will continue. You don’t need to set aside a lot of time for the visit but you can do a walk around the perimeter which will again give you some lovely views out over the water and the city.
The visit was short enough for the children not to get bored and even if they had have done, there’s a playground just at the base of the steps (basically between the mosque and the cruise terminal) which is covered and close to a row of coffee shops and eateries so it makes a nice stop off for families.
In the afternoon we left ourselves open to do a bit of walking and visit a couple of parks. Options around the city include The Wetlands, Taman Putra Perdana and the Botanical Gardens to name but a few.
Taman Putra Perdana is an extremely large park sat up on a hill behind the Prime Minister’s Office; if in doubt, follow the signs for the Shangri-La Hotel. Not sure whether it was because it was a long weekend but the park was deserted!
With beautifully kept gardens, flowers, a children’s playground and more park benches then they must get visitors in a whole month, it was a shame to think that no-one else was making use of the space. We took along the little ones scooters and we’ve done quite a decent tour of the place but don’t expect to find anywhere selling drinks etc so take your drinks and snacks with you!
The Botanical Gardens is just minutes away from the other attractions and well sign posted. When we were there it was yet again an example of somewhere that seemed a little bit forgotten about as I we only passed one other family walking around!
However this meant we could enjoy the views and the different zones at our own pace.
From a Sun Garden complete with giant sun dial to their African and Asia-Pacific Collections, we had a nice wander around before settling in at their Lakeside Cafe for drinks on a very hot and humid day!
We enjoyed our day in Putrajaya; depending on just how much time you want to spend there I would perhaps suggest doing a longer cruise than we did as this was certainly a winner with our twins and then you can see just how much energy has left to tackle the parks and beyond! Definitely a far cry from the busy tourist spots of KL, this will make for a refreshing change to the pace of life that most of us are used to. S x